Sleep in order to live long and prosper

Recently published sleep research suggests that

  • adolescents who cut down on sleep risk an increase in body weight, and
  • sleeping less than 6-8 hours a night leads to a 12% increase in the risk of dying early, and
  • even short periods e.g. one night of very reduced sleep can lead to resistance to the hormone insulin and potentially to developing type 2 diabetes.

These studies’ conclusions do not, however, mean that a few nights of reduced sleep will make you fat, develop type 2 diabetes or die in the near future; the message seems to be that 6-8 hours sleep a night is not just the norm, but really, really good for us !

3 thoughts on “Sleep in order to live long and prosper

  1. An interesting point about this research is that it is correlational – there is a strong implication that amount of sleep is causing these behaviours but that’s the ‘classic correlation’ trap. Good example to use in class about how research deludes people into assuming a causal relationship.

  2. Harry says:


    This is a question about essay structure rather than this specific post — sorry!

    When you are writing an essay on, say consequences of disrupting biological rhythms, should you talk about shift work, then it’s commentary on it, then go on to jet lag and it’s commentary? (I’m not too sure about the apostrophe on it’s, by the way!) Or do shift lag, then jet lag, and their respective commentaries? So basically:
    A01 then A02/3 and A01 then A02/3; or
    A01, A01 and then A02/3, A02/3?

    If I am making no sense, let me know!

    Also, some mistakes (!) that you may want to correct. On page 9 of the book, in the sub-heading titled “Artificial lighting”, the word ‘rhythm’ has an ‘n’ in it! That is, it is spelt ‘rhythnm’! Yep, I hate that word too.

    Also, on page 9 the question 5 essay is “Discuss the role of endogenous pacemakers and exogenous zeitgebers in biological rhythms”… yet the topic is on the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms! You copied and pasted from the other page! 😉

    Thanks and take care

  3. Hello Harry

    Either structure is fine – the key thing is that you have a structure! Having said that it probably makes better sense to AO1 then AO2/3 and then other AO1 + AO2/3. Better logical flow which is part of the mark scheme.

    Thanks for the corrections!

    Yours, Cara

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